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Biochemistry - Molecular Biology - Oncology - Urology

Serum Methionine Metabolites Are Risk Factors for Metastatic Prostate Cancer Progression
Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Author: Sally Stabler et al.

by Sally Stabler, Tatsuki Koyama, Zhiguo Zhao, Magaly Martinez-Ferrer, Robert H. Allen, Zigmund Luka, Lioudmila V. Loukachevitch, Peter E. Clark, Conrad Wagner, Neil A. Bhowmick


Clinical decision for primary treatment for prostate cancer is dictated by variables with insufficient specificity. Early detection of prostate cancer likely to develop rapid recurrence could support neo-adjuvant therapeutics and adjuvant options prior to frank biochemical recurrence. This study compared markers in serum and urine of patients with rapidly recurrent prostate cancer to recurrence-free patients after radical prostatectomy. Based on previous identification of urinary sarcosine as a metastatic marker, we tested whether methionine metabolites in urine and serum could serve as pre-surgical markers for aggressive disease.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Urine and serum samples (n?=?54 and 58, respectively), collected at the time of prostatectomy were divided into subjects who developed biochemical recurrence within 2 years and those who remained recurrence-free after 5 years. Multiple methionine metabolites were measured in urine and serum by GC-MS. The role of serum metabolites and clinical variables (biopsy Gleason grade, clinical stage, serum prostate specific antigen [PSA]) on biochemical recurrence prediction were evaluated. Urinary sarcosine and cysteine levels were significantly higher (p?=?0.03 and p?=?0.007 respectively) in the recurrent group. However, in serum, concentrations of homocysteine (p?=?0.003), cystathionine (p?=?0.007) and cysteine (p<0.001) were more abundant in the recurrent population. The inclusion of serum cysteine to a model with PSA and biopsy Gleason grade improved prediction over the clinical variables alone (p<0.001).


Higher serum homocysteine, cystathionine, and cysteine concentrations independently predicted risk of early biochemical recurrence and aggressiveness of disease in a nested case control study. The methionine metabolites further supplemented known clinical variables to provide superior sensitivity and specificity in multivariable prediction models for rapid biochemical recurrence following prostatectomy.